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Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age
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Too Much of a Good Thing: Raising Children of Character in an Indulgent Age

3.7  ·  Rating details ·  328 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
In this provocative book, psychologist and best-selling author Dan Kindlon delineates how indulged toddlers become indulged teenagers who are at risk for becoming prone to, among other things, excessive self-absorption, depression and anxiety, and lack of self-control. Dr Kindlon reveals the data and dissects the behaviors that parents must be on the alert for in their chi ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 29th 2001 by Miramax (first published January 1st 2001)
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Ruth Ann
This book reminds parents the real cost of living in an age of affluence . . . potential damage to your child's character. Though money can provide health care, enriching experiences and vacations, money can not buy character and can lead to "luxury fever". Kids that have too much often begin to feel entitled and this leads to low frustration tolerance and a diminished ability to deal with stress. Giving children too much deprives them of the accomplishment of self-efficacy and can lead to one o ...more
Jul 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This was a very readable parenting book. I found the premise interesting, especially for this day and age. Our children have so much more than we did growing up, just as we have so much more than our parents did raising us. Generally speaking, why is everybody so unhappy? Why do some children choose to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex at such early ages? Is it possible we can give our kids so much that they lose ambition, or never learn how to appreciate small victories in their lives, or ...more
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
After reading 2/3 of the book, I'd planned to review it and say that it is good, but certainly not anything you haven't heard before. The author did conduct a nice study that puts together some things you've heard before in a very concrete way, which is nice. He quantifies why you should not allow your teenagers to drink or have sex, as well as identifies some habits that families with healthy, reasonable teenagers share.

Then I read the last 1/3 of the book, and now I'm happy to give it 4 stars
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This author compares the seven deadly sins or vices to how some parents raise their children. Some of the character traits picked up by children are:

Self-centeredness (pride)
Anger (wrath)
Driven quality seen in so many (envy)
Not motivated (sloth)
Eating disorders (gluttony)
Self-control problems (lust)
Spoiled (greed)

Mar 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Long on interesting analysis of current child-rearing trends that result in self-centeredness, instant gratification, and senses of entitlement; short on actual, practical advise. This book is interesting for spurring discussion but don't expect it to be a manual for avoiding the parenting traps that result in that list of nasties in the first sentence above.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rarely finish a self help book. I pick them up hoping for a step by step guide on how to fix my life and once I realize I have to figure it out for myself, I put the book down. I figure why spend time reading when I can spend the time figuring it out (although I rarely figure it out, hence the picking up of more self help books. . .a viscious cycle LOL)

I was ready to put this book down when I got to Part 2 that outlines the 7 deadly sins. I found it very interesting, and thought the author did
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
Great book! I love how Dan Kindlon uses the 7 deadly sins as a template for the 7 syndromes that we need to watch out for in ourselves and our kids. I like that he has written this book with survey data to back up the text instead of just one man's opinion. As a teacher and a member of society, I all to often see parents playing the role of their kids best friend instead of the parent role, all because they think that is the only way their kids will truly love them. Having spent some time workin ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
The author did a good job of explaining how much potential there is to damage our children by indulging them in things rather than setting clear and realistic limits on what they can have and how they can behave. The main message of this book was that parents who don't spend enough time and effort on their relationships with their children are more likely to raise children who are poorly equipped to face adulthood effectively.

This book was ok and I'm not saying it didn't teach me anything but I
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I wasn't sure that I gained any specific do/don't do ideas on parenting from this book, it was definitely motivational. Sometimes it seemed contradictory- "we don't ask anything from our kids!" "kids in today's society are too focused and driven!" "spend lots of time with your kids!" "don't try to be a friend to your kid!".

But basically it was a good reminder that you have to let life be a little difficult sometimes. The best thing I learned is that hope is related to happiness- that if yo
I liked this book but it just stated the problem and didn't really give advice on "how to raise kids with character in an indulgent age." The obvious reoccurring theme was to spend time with your kids: eat dinner with them and be involed in their lives. I liked the part about "luxury fever." It kept referring to a survey and backed it up at the end with numerical data and survey results. Kids are very indulged but is it their fault? What do we do about it? it comes back to how you are raising yo ...more
While Kindlon illuminates many of the pitfalls of parenting in the age of indulgence, he spends too much time doing just that. The author devotes two hundred pages to presenting his research and decrying modern parenting practices, but offers only twenty pages worth of practical techniques and tools on how to more effectively set limits. Even though I think the theoretical information is important and valuable, I wanted more suggestions about how to put these ideas into practice. I'm sure it's b ...more
Vivian Thomas
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Liked: I really liked his idea of not going overboard in protecting our kids from feeling like 'dorks'(I don't remember his exact wording). He points out that some very successful people felt this way as children and it was partially their skills used to get through it that helped them become sucessful. I also liked his study to find the commonalities between the well-adjusted kids. One thing he found was - their families ate dinner together most nights during the week. Interesting.
Did not like:
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book highlights study results of teenagers regarding expectations (being spoiled), anger, drive, lack of motivation, eating disorders, self control and being spoiled. It boils down to children being at risk of low self-esteem and succumbing to the above issues if parents are not around, setting limits or throwing money at the problem. This book is geared to very affluent families (that make more than $100,000/yr - millions) and the problems that come with focusing on money and things. There ...more
Apr 15, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So far this book is striking me as terribly pretentious. I am not a member of the target audience unless by some quirk of lottery my kids end up at a prestigous east coast private school, wearing $200 jeans they bought with their own credit card, driving a bmw, and vacationing in Aspen. Hopefully the info in the second section will relate to my meager life and inability to 'indulge' my children. Hmmm, maybe I have a little anger about this......Finished it (only becuase I paid for it) and I woul ...more
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the title and the cover, I assumed that this book would be a broader treatise on childhood; while the themes do apply for childrearing in general, Kindlon's focus is on teenagers and the issues they face. His general theme--that indulgence is harmful to children, and that children need to face and overcome difficulty to develop into competent adults--was worthwhile, and his research was interesting (particularly because the "teens" in his study were my peers), but I was hoping for something ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it liked it
I've started reading a lot of child rearing books now that I understand that I am raising myself. How do I become the person I want to be? A little self-actualization, if you please (and I do). That's the primary reason for reading this book. The second is that I'm going to have kids some day. And I don't want to be scrambling when I get there to try and figure out what to do. Because, really, nine months isn't enough time to get your shit together. Reading this book is in investment into my fut ...more
Rebecca Newman
I couldn't relate at all to this book. The book was entirely geared toward affluent families, which we are not and written by a psychologist whose morality does not extend to the Maker of Morality.

There were some interesting tidbits here and there and some truth in what he claims is important. But the fact is: people who say you must be good, hard-working, thoughtful, considerate, respectful...but for the sake of those things instead of God's law just irritate me. I found myself screeching, as
I agree with the premise that we need to 1) Let our children be more self sufficient in terms of learning from life's setbacks, and 2) Give our children our time, limits, and caring attention to what's going on in their lives. But after these obvious recommendations, the rest of the book just keeps hammering on about the same broad ideas. I would have liked more concrete and specific parenting examples on exactly how we resist and fight media's pull on our kids, and how we can combat the insidio ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book does a great job outlining the problems of today's youth (mostly caused by poor parenting decisions) but doesn't do a lot to offer solutions. 90% of the book talked about the problems with the seven deadly sins analogy (not overtly religious, which I was thankful for) but only about 10% focused on what we can do to be better parents and prevent the problems. I really wanted to like this book but it just missed the mark for me.
Feb 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Focused a lot on teenagers and how to not spoil them with money/cars/horses, etc. I don't have these problems or see myself having them. (in his defense he does say from the beginning it is a study of very affluent families) I'm more into self reliance than his definition of character, but it was an interesting read non the less. If you want a book about indulgent times check out Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent Age. More practical for every day people.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The thing that I thought was interesting about this view is that it is specifically dealing with middle to upper-class families. There is always plentiful evidence of the problems within lower-class communities, but it seems that often the wealthy are considered immune. I think that it's important for parents to remember that their money won't buy their children good character.
Mary Ellen
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
My uncle recommended this when I took a job at Detroit Country Day School and I very much could relate to the overindulgence I saw there. For parents, this is the kind of book you can read & read again as a source of strength to fight that big & scary, ever-present CONSUMERISM MACHINE! I have re-read this one at least twice in recent years.
Case stories are used to illustrate research findings, and the message is clear; Our kids need more of us and less of things. If you can get past the voice of the author, which seems to have an overriding tone of "wink, wink, nudge nudge see you at the country club" there are some useful suggestions and ideas here.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe! I had the opportunity to hear Dan Kindlon speak. Not only did he give great practical and inspirational advise, he was hilarious! If he loses his job at Harvard, he should become a stand- up. His humor is not apparent in his books however, so I'm really glad that I got to hear him in person.
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking. I don't agree with everything in the book, but it is well written. The case examples are great. Interesting perspective on childhood in today's culture. This book has encouraged me to think about what I offer my children, what they offered to children around them, and how the assimilate subtle (and not so subtle) messages to perform and behave in our society.
Purposely Vague
This was a good quick read. I felt like a lot of the advice wasn't earth shattering news, but it did reinforce some of the ideas that I already had about parenting, which is nice. Although as some reviewers mentioned this books is geared towards the affluent, there is still advice that can be applied to non-financial indulgence.
Michelle Wilkes
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it is so important no matter what their material possessions or wealth are - that my children have an appreciation for what really matters and that they understand that they will always be around those that have more and those that have less. They need to understand their audience and value hard work.
Cathy Rosenberg
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a society where overindulge and are dealing with its consequences.. this is powerful. I shared it with the headmistress of my daughter's school and she bought 40 copies and gave it to her entire school staff. That speaks volumes, doesn't it?
Amy P
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually really liked this book. Something I'm always concerned about and found the research and conclusions to be pretty thorough and interesting. I'll definitely keep making family dinners a priority, as once again that comes out as quite important.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me that families who eat together raise good kids. It is important to show your kids charity. Take them on mission trips-whether it is Downtown at the Day Shelter or Kenya. Prove to them that not everyone is as privileged!
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Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., a member of the Harvard University faculty for over fifteen years, teaches child psychology and conducts research in child development. A leading clinical and research psychologist specializing in behavioral problems in children and adolescents, Dr. Kindlon has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of emotional issues, learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders in o ...more
More about Dan Kindlon...